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Clearer Thinking is the brand-new podcast about ideas that truly matter. Join Spencer Greenberg each week as he has fun, in-depth conversations with brilliant people, exploring useful ideas related to psychology, society, behavior change, philosophy, science, artificial intelligence, math, economics, self-help, mental health, and technology. If you enjoy learning about powerful, practical concepts and frameworks, wish you had more deep, intellectual conversations in your life, or are looking ...
 
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What can we learn about people from search data? What does search data reveal about human nature that surveys and polls fail to reveal? What patterns of searching do people exhibit when they're suffering from mental and physical illnesses? How can we use data to make better decisions, become better parents, date better, and be happier? Seth Stephen…
 
What are "scout" and "soldier" mindsets? How can we have productive disagreements even when one person isn't in scout mindset? Is knowing about good rationality habits sufficient to reason well? When do we naturally tend to be in scout mindset or soldier mindset? When is each mindset beneficial or harmful? Are humans "rationally irrational"? What a…
 
Should we trust social science research? What is the open science movement? What is the "file drawer" effect? How can common sense help social science dig itself out of the replicability crisis? Is social science in the West too focused on interventions for individuals? How useful is the Implicit Association Test? How useful is the concept of "grit…
 
What can people learn from playing poker? What makes someone good at playing games? What is the OODA loop? What is a "premortem" analysis of decision-making? How should we think about decisions that aren't easily (or even possibly) reversible? What do people get wrong when they're trying to be more productive? What is a "forcing function"? How can …
 
What is normative hedonism? What's the difference between wanting something and wanting to want something? Should we only care about the experiences of conscious beings? What's wrong with moral discourse? Does philosophy ever actually make progress, or is it still only discussing the things that were discussed a thousand years ago? What is (or shou…
 
What is superintelligence? Can a superintelligence be controlled? Why aren't people (especially academics, computer scientists, and companies) more worried about superintelligence alignment problems? Is it possible to determine whether or not an AI is conscious? Do today's neural networks experience some form of consciousness? Are humans general in…
 
Why should we meditate? What are the typical developmental stages as one progresses along the contemplative path? What does it mean to "hold an ontology loosely"? Are some meditative techniques inappropriate for some practitioners? Are there risks associated with meditation? Further reading: Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha by Daniel Ingr…
 
What's the best way to teach rationality? How do you communicate rationalist principles to people who aren't already interested in thinking more clearly? What has COVID taught us about how people typically make decisions and think about problems? Where and how can the rationalist community improve? Does rationalism have anything to say about (for e…
 
How much preference falsification is occurring in society? What's the difference between conflict theory and mistake theory? Why is postmodernism useful to understand? Michael Vassar was the President of the Singularity Institute from 2009 to 2012. Subsequently, he has worked in business consulting, especially in association with cutting edge scien…
 
What is the Moral Foundations Theory? Is the MFT a model that's only intended to describe human behavior and psychology, or does it also make claims about what's actually true about morality? Why does morality exist in the first place? How can the MFT be used to have better conversations across ideological and cultural divides? What (if anything) h…
 
How well do we identify with our past and future selves? What are some of the ways we can develop self-awareness and emotional control? How can we learn more and learn faster at a younger age? How can we best express emotions like sadness and anger? What are our intrinsic values, and what should they be? Simone is a Cambridge-educated crumpet addic…
 
Why do we seem to get less and less pleasure from some things over time? And what can we do about it? Are there dimensions along which some people can't be satiated (e.g., perhaps narcissists can't get "enough" adoration)? What are the structures of needs and incentives in cults? How should we think about the pursuit of long-term happiness, which s…
 
How can we better make decisions under uncertainty? What are some of the different ways of being uncertain? What are some powerful venture patterns? How can founders and venture capitalists reduce risk in their startups and portfolios? What is the nature of innovation? How can investing be used to do good in the world? Miles Lasater has started 3 c…
 
Are our brains equipped to handle the increasing velocity of information exchange? What's going on psychologically when we take offense to an idea? Should some kinds of research results be suppressed or hidden? Should some kinds of research be avoided altogether? What are some of the faults in the old paradigms and models in sexuality research? Wha…
 
What are the best strategies for improving ourselves? How are line managers useful? Why does Rob prefer long-form content for the 80,000 Hours podcast? What are the sorts of things humans value and why? In what ways do research ethics considerations fail to achieve their stated objectives? Why are prediction markets useful? Rob Wiblin is the Head o…
 
Why do "antagonistic" teachers exist in popular culture but not in the classroom? What happens to student outcomes when "antagonistic" learning is implemented in real classrooms? What is the Field Theory of Parenting? What are things that we can do for others but can't do for ourselves? How can we notice and utilize costly and unfakeable signals? W…
 
How are ideologies like snowglobes? What is "convert communication"? What are some algorithms for creativity? How can framing help us to make better decisions? Elizabeth Kim is an applied behavioral scientist designing products to help people be happier, healthier, and wealthier. She is the music streaming industry's first Behavioral Scientist at S…
 
What are the various components of intelligence? How does intelligence relate to IQ? Can IQ be trained or improved? What is creativity, and how does it relate to intelligence? Can creativity be trained or improved? What is self-actualization, and how does it relate to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? What is transcendence? Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., i…
 
NOTE: The beginning of this conversation touches on some of the same themes that were discussed in the recent episode with Michael Nielsen. After that, though, this conversation heads off in other directions. Is scientific progress speeding up or slowing down? How can we understand and explain the replication crisis in the social sciences? In the c…
 
What is enlightenment? What are the different kinds or definitions of enlightenment? What was Aella's religious upbringing like, and why did she lose her faith? How did Aella get into sex work, and what has her career as a sex worker been like? How do we ask great questions, and what is Askhole? You can find out more about Aella on her website, kno…
 
Is scientific progress speeding up or slowing down? What are the best strategies for funding research? What is "para-academia," and what are the pros and cons of being a para-academic researcher? What are the feedback loops in politics that cause politicians and their constituents to react to each other? Michael Nielsen is a scientist who helped pi…
 
What is 52 Living Ideas? How does the Four Systems Model help to classify parts of human nature? What tools do civilizations create that allow individuals to transact with each other without knowing each other? Why has "form follows function" been the most influential idea ever for Shrikant? What is intuitive analytic shuttling, and how does it hel…
 
What's the best way to learn? Why is learning how to learn "the most important skill"? When should we explore, and when should we exploit? What are the merits and demerits of various models of governance? How should we think about the problems around free speech? Named "King of Viral Media" by Forbes, Emerson Spartz is one of the world's leading ex…
 
Why do liberals and conservatives disagree so vehemently? Why are things so polarized in the US right now? What are the core values held by liberals and conservatives? How much value does tradition have? Where and why do liberals and conservatives disagree about climate change? Where and why do liberals and conservatives disagree about free speech …
 
What are the pros and cons of taking psychedelics? What goes into creating a good setting for psychedelic use? How can experiencing depression change someone's political views? What is comedy? What is the relationship between comedy and social status? Why is it that comedians can get away with saying things that other people can't say? Sarah Rose S…
 
What's the best way to help someone who's going through a difficult situation? What are the four states of distress? What are "comfort languages"? How can we introduce more nuance into our everyday thinking habits? When gathering information and forming opinions, how do you know who to trust? What's the difference between intelligence and wisdom? K…
 
Are universities a cult? Do charitable interventions like de-worming work? How much should we trust the conclusion of well-respected charity evaluators like GiveWell? Uri is the publisher of The Browser and The Listener, the world's favourite curation newsletters, and the author of Thinking Statistically and The Business of Big Data. Uri can be fou…
 
How can we move beyond zero-sum, adversarial negotiations? What are some tools we can use to overcome physical and psychological pain? How can we develop psychological resilience and stability? Julie is an executive at an A.I. company and winner of the 2019 USA Track & Field's Women's 100-Mile Trail Championship. You can find more about her on Link…
 
What is 80,000 Hours? What sorts of people should become entrepreneurs? How can you run cheap experiments on yourself? What are some beneficial modes of philosophical thinking? Arden Koehler is a researcher and writer at 80,000 Hours, a nonprofit whose mission is to help people use their careers to help solve the world's most pressing problems, and…
 
Are there more meaningful and ethical ways of honoring the dead than our traditional rituals? Why is it useful to adopt probabilistic thinking in our everyday lives? What sorts of things do we value intrinsically (i.e., that we would value even if they had no other positive benefits)? What do stories do well and not so well? A.J. Jacobs is an autho…
 
Why is it important to learn about cognitive biases? What are the various modes of nuanced thinking? What kind of mindset do people have to have in order to change their minds? When should we make "gut", intuitive decisions? When should we make careful, measured, reflective decisions? This episode was originally recorded on the THINKERS Workshop sh…
 
What does it mean to leave lines of retreat in social contexts? How can we make sense of the current state of the world? What happens when we run out of map? How does the book Elephant in the Brain apply to the above questions? Anna Salamon does work with the Center for Applied Rationality and the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. She studie…
 
What's a good definition of meditation that cuts through all the dogma and differing methodology? What are the techniques, skills, and insights associated with meditation? How does meditation connect to religion and spirituality, and is meditation valuable without those components? And what is enlightenment? Jeremy hails from Adelaide, Australia, a…
 
How can we improve art museums? Does aesthetics need something equivalent to the effective altruism movement? What is steel-aliening? What are the most important social skills to learn, and how can we learn them? Can anybody become polyamorous? What does it take to succeed in a polyamorous relationships? Why do societies decay over time? Sam Rosen …
 
How much time should we set aside for learning? What are the most effective ways of portraying and communicating ideas? Should we set long-term goals for ourselves, or allow our goals to emerge over time? What are the pros and cons of being a celebrity in a field (or in general)?Von Spencer Greenberg
 
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